Were you injured in one of the over 30,000 collisions that occur in Indianapolis every year? Indiana law gives you the right to seek compensation for any losses you incurred due to your accident. Depending on the circumstances, it could mean filing an insurance claim or filing a civil lawsuit. You can do it yourself or let an Indianapolis car accident lawyer represent you.
At Stewart|Phelps|Wood Injury lawyers, we know how difficult recovering after a traffic accident can be. We also know how challenging finding your way through the Indiana legal system can be. That is why our Indianapolis personal injury lawyers have made it their duty to help you and others seek compensation for your losses.
We realize you need more information before you decide how you approach your case. You need to know your rights, assess your losses, and study your legal options. You will find some of the information you need in the following lines. For answers to specific questions or get help with your case, call Stewart|Phelps|Wood Injury Lawyers today at (317)593-3014 and speak with our experts, at no cost to you!
Table of Contents
How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyer?
Most Indianapolis car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. They only get paid if they win, making a percentage from the compensation they obtain for their clients. Fees usually range from 25% to 40%, according to the stage and difficulty of the case.
The standard fee is 33.33% or one third from the compensation. In cases that reach court and require hearings in front of a judge or jury, the fees may rise to 40%. The percentages may seem high but keep in mind that the money does not come out of your pocket and
There is no guarantee you can obtain it by yourself. Moreover, in exchange for it, you will obtain valuable information and advice, legal representation, and peace of mind. Speaking of information and advice, did you do everything you were supposed to after your crash?
What Should I Do After An Indiana Car Crash?
Indiana Code Section 9-26-1-1.1 requires drivers involved in traffic accidents to:
- Stop at the accident scene or as close as possible paying attention not to obstruct traffic.
- Exchange contact, insurance, and vehicle registration details with the other parties.
- Provide reasonable assistance to anyone needing it.
- Report the accident to the local police, the county sheriff’s office, or by calling 911.
Hopefully, you have obtained the above-mentioned information from the other driver, took photos of the accident scene and wrote down the names of potential witnesses. If you haven’t done it already, you should consider following the next five steps after your accident:
Get a Medical Exam
If you incurred any injuries, you need to have them diagnosed and treated. If you neglect to do so, any aggravations or complications will become your responsibility. It is important for your case to document your injuries and any related expenses and complications. Keeping a diary and holding on to your bills and receipts could help.
Report the Accident to Your Insurer
The deadline for doing it is 24 hours, and every minute of delay could work against you. Provide an honest summary of the events, without going into details.
Avoid Speaking to the Insurer of the Other Driver or Signing Any Documents
They know you will likely seek compensation from them, and their goal is to avoid paying or diminish the amount. Any statements you give or documents you sign could end up costing you money or, worse, your compensation. If they offer you a settlement, it will surely be for less than you deserve. Politely tell them to get in touch with your auto accident attorney.
Obtain a Copy of the Police Accident Report
It usually becomes available within a couple of days from the accident. It represents important evidence and a great starting point for the investigations in your case.
Get in Touch With an Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyer
The sooner you do it, the more time they will have to work on your case and the sooner you will receive your compensation. Bring any documents and evidence that could be relevant to your case. Examples include the police accident report, medical records, insurance policies, contact details, notes, and photos from the accident scene.
Too many car accident victims fail to follow these steps and end up losing their right to compensation. Perhaps you could not avoid becoming part of Indiana car accident statistics. However, you should do everything in your power to avoid becoming one of the victims that never recover their losses. These statistics are, sadly, overwhelming.
Indiana Car Accident Statistics
According to the 2017 Crash Facts report of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, 911 people lost their lives in Indiana traffic. No less than 47,069 persons were injured in traffic accidents throughout the state.
Many of these unfortunate events occurred in Marion County and its seat, Indianapolis. As usual, speed and alcohol were the main accident causes. You can see an overview of the main stats in the table below:
|2017 Crash Facts by Location and Cause||Indiana||Marion County||Indianapolis|
|Total number of collisions||219,112||36,963||31,251|
Many of the victims of these accidents never received compensation for their losses. Some of them refused to work with an Indianapolis car accident lawyer and made costly mistakes. Others decided to contact an auto accident attorney when it was already too late.
When Should I Contact an Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyer?
According to Indiana Code 34-11-2-4, accident victims have two years to file a civil lawsuit and seek compensation for their losses. After this period, insurers will deny claims and courts will dismiss cases.
Two years may seem like a lot of time but it is not. This deadline, also called statute of limitations, refers to civil lawsuits. Court trials are usually the last resort for car accident cases, so the procedures should begin much sooner.
Leaving the rush for filing an insurance claim aside, time is of the essence when it comes to gathering evidence as well. Oil leaks and brake marks get washed by the rain; stores and gas stations delete their video recordings, and witnesses forget details.
Moreover, car accident attorneys need time to investigate, gather evidence, and follow procedures. By the time they file a claim, they should already have a clear image of the damages involved. If you really want to recover any damages, it is important that you get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Why Should I Contact an Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyer?
Before you decide whether or not you need the help of a car accident lawyer in Indianapolis, you should consider the following aspects:
Both insurance claims and court trials require following strict rules and procedures and thorough knowledge of Indiana law. You may be willing to learn, but theory always differs from practice. Moreover, you will be on a tight schedule, so you will have very little time to figure things out. Since lawyers know the applicable laws and procedures by heart, if you work with one you will not have to worry about learning.
Your opponent will probably work with an experienced Indianapolis car accident lawyer. They will do everything in their power to deny your claim, dismiss your case, or blame you for the accident. They will pick on any mistake, inconsistency, and misinterpret everything you say and do. An experienced lawyer will not give them the opportunity to do so and will defend your interests at all times.
Generally, claimants who work on their own obtain lower compensations than claimants who work with experienced Indianapolis car accident lawyers. That is because they fail to claim and prove all their losses. The best car accident lawyers are also skilled investigators and accountants. They will gather all the necessary evidence and do their math to make sure you recover every cent you lost and more.
There are many more benefits at stake when you work with an experienced car accident attorney. The most important thing to remember is that you will save precious time and effort, gain peace of mind, and recover all the damages you incurred.
What Type of Damages Can Be Recovered in an Indiana Auto Wreck Case?
Indiana law allows injury victims to recover two types of losses: economic and non-economic.
These refer to expenses or financial losses the victim incurred due to the accident. They are the easiest to quantify and prove. They include:
- Medical expenses (doctor fees, hospital bills, surgery costs, medical devices, medicines, physical therapy, etc.)
- Lost wages (the salaries and bonuses the claimant lost by not being able to work due to their accident injuries)
- Lost earning capacity (the income, bonuses, and promotions the claimant, if disabled in the accident, will never earn)
- Property damage (the cost of repairing or replacing the car and any other items damaged in the accident)
This category includes losses that cannot be quantified, like pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of consortium, enjoyment, etc. They are usually awarded in cases involving severe injuries. To calculate them, many auto accident lawyers will multiply the value of economic losses by various numbers.
It is important to notice that, in order to recover any of those losses, the claimant needs to prove them. Thus, you should hold on to a; invoices, bills, receipts, cost estimates, medical reports, and treatment recommendations, etc., anything that could justify an expense.
The real challenge is proving non-economic damages, and claimants who try their luck on their own usually fail. An experienced car accident attorney will use medical reports, studies, and drug leaflets to prove the severity of the claimant’s injuries. They will also turn to witnesses, expert testimonies, and case precedents. Without concrete evidence, it is almost impossible to make the party at fault pay.
Is Indiana an at Fault State?
In Indiana, as in most states, the party at fault for an accident (or their insurance company) covers damages. When the parties share fault, the claimant has to be less than 51% at fault in order to recover any losses. Their compensation will be reduced directly proportional to their share of fault. This is known as the principle of contributory negligence.
Thus, if you incurred damages worth $100,000 and you were 40% at fault for your accident, you will only recover $60,000. Of course, as mentioned above, the amount you recover will depend on your ability to prove your losses.
Also, you should expect the defendant to your claim to try to blame you for the accident. After all, every fault percentage they attribute to you means less money out of their pocket. It is important to notice that the burden of proof falls on the claimant.
Thus, you will need to prove that:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care (to follow transportation laws and traffic rules)
- They breached their duty (they broke traffic rules or acted in an unreasonable manner)
- Their actions led to the accident
- The accident resulted in the damages you are claiming.
Obviously, everything is easier if you work with an experienced car accident lawyer or a reputed law firm like ours. At Stewart|Phelps|Wood Injury Lawyers, we have handled hundreds of car accident cases and we know all about proving fault and damages. We have wide experience in other injury cases as well, and we do not hesitate to use it when the situation calls for it.
Other Types of Cases We Handle
Throughout our over 40 years of combined experience, we have gathered valuable skills and knowledge in several fields. These allow us to handle all types of cases. The following are among the most common:
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, truck drivers are responsible for accidents in 50% of cases. are caused by tired or negligent truck drivers. Other times, the fault belongs to transportation companies who neglect fleet maintenance or to their service providers who do a poor job. Our Indiana truck accident lawyers welcome going after the big guys and making them pay.
These are among the most complicated cases, as they usually involve severe injuries. Although the general perception is that motorcyclists are reckless and do not follow traffic rules, we exploit every opportunity to prove the opposite. We believe all traffic participants should be equal and drivers should pay more attention to motorcyclists to avoid accidents. Contact our Indianapolis motorcycle accident lawyers for representation.
Ridesharing companies claim to make traffic safer by diminishing drunk driving incidents. However, they do not always run the in-depth driver checks they should. Also, their huge insurance coverage is quite difficult to access. Luckily for our clients, at Stewart|Phelps|Wood, our Indianapolis uber accident attorneys love challenges.
Dogs are smart, loving, adorable creatures, no doubt about that. However, when they end up biting and hurting people, their owners should be held responsible. Our Indianapolis dog bite lawyers make sure of that and help our clients receive compensation for their dog bite injuries every time.
People go to the doctor to heal, not to be injured or see their condition worsen. Unfortunately, healthcare providers make mistakes or act negligently as well. When it happens, our medical malpractice lawyers in Indianapolis make sure their victims receive compensation.
If you were the victim of a car accident or your case falls into one of these five categories, we can help. To find out how to get in touch and schedule a free consultation.
Contact an Indianapolis Car Accident Attorney at Stewart|Phelps|Wood Injury Lawyers
At Stewart|Phelps|Wood Injury Lawyers, we believe all accident victims should benefit from legal advice. That is why we provide free, no-strings-attached consultations. This means you can reach out to us, have your case reviewed, and receive information and advice without paying.
You will see what working with some of the most experienced personal injury lawyers in Indianapolis and having them fight for your interest means. Call our office today to provide us with more details about your case and schedule the free consultation!